Fokine, A.; Khare, B.; Sun, Y. & Rossmann, M. G. Enhancement of tomogram interpretability using the locked self-rotation function. Journal of structural biology, 2019 , 205 , 53-58
The interpretation of cryo-electron tomograms of macromolecular complexes can be difficult because of the large amount of noise and because of the missing wedge effect. Here it is shown how the presence of rotational symmetry in a sample can be utilized to enhance the quality of a tomographic analysis. The orientation of symmetry axes in a sub-tomogram can be determined using a locked self-rotation function. Given this knowledge, the sub-tomogram density can then be averaged to improve its interpretability. Sub-tomograms of the icosahedral bacteriophage phiX174 are used to demonstrate the procedure.